2013: The Year in Review

Happy New Year!

Now that we’re done tooting horns  in celebration of the arrival of 2014, today we toot our own horn about the year just past. It’s been an eventful twelvemonth on many fronts, highlighted by the release of a new book, some of my most ambitious vaudeville and burlesque shows to date, speaking engagements and other public appearances, several video and web tv projects, and several exciting trips. And more!

Here’s our retrospective re-cap (just click on the links below for more info about the events):

January:

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* Hosted Just Noise: A Concert Recording Session for Beck’s Song Reader at the Brick Theater. While the event sported dozens of amazing acts like Pendulum Swings and Killy Dwyer, I am afraid this is the clip I have to share with you:

* Also in January 2013, I was privileged to speak to an SRO crowd at the Greater Astoria Historical Society on the impact of 19th century German immigration on American show biz. The event was hosted by the NY 19th Century Society. More info in that sexy, sexy event is here.

February

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Sat down with Martin Denton of Indie Theater Now for a nice podcast chat about my early years, and the posting of many of my plays on his terrific website. Your gateway to all that happiness is right here.

March

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* March saw the publication of my second book  Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, by Bear Manor Media, available from amazon.com etc etc etc. Just follow that link for more info!

* My first Chain of Fools book event was held in the Westerly Public Library in the town of my birth, Westerly, Rhode Island. The talk was about Douglas Fairbanks and his film American Aristocracy, which had been shot locally.   More info about that event is here. 

April

with Ben Model of the Silent Clowns film series
with Ben Model of the Silent Clowns film series

Our New York Chain of Fools launch event was held at Dixon Place. A good time was had by all! The full account is here. 

May 

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Hilary Chaplain, who collaborated with me on the silent film “A Change in Brunch Plans”

* Our second NY Chain of Fools launch event was held at the Brick Theater, this one featuring original contemporary silent films by clown film makers. More about my own short film A Change in Brunch Plans (including the film), can be found here. 

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* I was featured in a Washington Post piece about New Burlesque this month. More details and a link are here. 

* I also met Liza Minnelli and Michael Feinstein at Vince Giordano’s show in May. Mr. Feinstein turned out to be a fan of my book No Applause! The full account of the historic event is here. 

June

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* We presented our grandest vaudeville show ever this month at the Players Club, in celebration of the Palace Theatre’s 100th birthday. The All-Star cast included Ed Sullivan impersonator Will Jordan, tv pioneer Joe Franklin, sideshow king Todd Robbins, members of the Flying Karamazov Bros, et al. For the full report go here. 

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* In June we held our second Rhode Island Chain of Fools event at What Cheer Antiques in Providence. This trip was a joy in that I got to re-connect with a town where I used to live but haven’t gotten to visit in a quarter century, to see lots of family and old friends, and to meet some new ones. Read all about it here.

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* To Ithaca, New York for my son Cashel’s high school graduation!

July

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* Revived our collaboration with Angie Pontani’s Burlesque-a-pades in Horse Trade’s Burlesque Blitz Festival. More info in that show here. 

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* I was thrilled to play the host in Kevin Maher’s hilarious 4th of July comedy video; check it out here:

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* Was ecstatic to return to Rhode Island for the third time in a year for the first family reunion in many years. I was especially glad to reunite with my three brothers (above) at this time, because Chain of Fools is dedicated to them.

August

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* In August we presented our Burlesque Tribute to the Bathing Beauties show at Coney Island USA. The full photo record of this event is here. 

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* Also that month we had a more intimate musical event at Dixon Place, featuring our own self, plus mockstar Killy Dwyer and Carla Rhodes & Cecil Sinclair.

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* Made my third appearance on the popular Halli-Casser Jane Show, talking about silent film and Charlie Chaplin. More info on the episode and a link to it are here. 

September

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* Spoke to a full house at the Brooklyn Public Library on the topic of Vitagraph Studios. Full description here. 

* Spoke at the Mint Theatre on the subject of playwright George Kelly. More on that here.

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* Launched the first of several web tv interviews I did for NY Community Media. This one was with Angie Pontani and Shelly Watson of the NY Burlesque Festival. Go to the full clip right here.

October

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* Shot Too Much Nutcracker, a new original silent comedy, with Jim Moore behind the lens, and my co-stars Audrey Crabtree, Glenn Heroy, Jen Harder and Jason Nunes. It’s in post-production now; we hope to have it completed this month.

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* Our second Community Media web tv interview was with  Hanna Cheek and Clay McCleod Chapman as they talked about their latest installment of The Pumpkin Pie Show. That interview and my October column are here. 

* In October I also took a trip up to Burlington, VT to visit my son at the University of Vermont. Dig my full travelogue of that junket here. 

* This month Cybele Tamulonis published her book of short fiction The Pen Prostitute, featuring an introduction by moi. The book can be purchased here. 

November

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* I interviewed the legendary Mink Stole and Penny Arcade for Community Media. That interview and my review of their show The Mutilated is here. 

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* General Jinjur and I went to Ireland for a week to see my son Charlie and much else; a minute record of our awesome adventures is to be found here.

* This month Travalanche (this blog) reached a half million hits! Other landmarks on this front: in 2013 (as if you didn’t notice) we vastly increased the amount of content on the site, producing almost as many new posts (1,900) as we had published during the previous five years (over 2,000). This strategy began to pay off in increased traffic towards fall, when I hit on some effective new methods for promoting the posts. Our goal is to reach a million by the end of next year!

December

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* Our article on the great humorists of the Jazz Age came out in the new issue of Zelda magazine. Get it here. 

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* We so enjoyed getting to spend a good bit of Q.T. with our friends from the Brick Theatre in Northampton, Massachusetts for the wedding of the Brick’s Gyda’s Arber and her beau Steve Sabaugh.  A magical capstone to an eventful year.

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Thanks to all who helped to make this such a terrific and exciting time. We have a bunch of downright earth-shaking plans to announce for 2014; details to follow very soon. Best wishes to all as we enter this exciting new period together!

 

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